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Legionella Testing in Care Homes

Care Home residents are usually elderly and often suffer from underlying illnesses which makes them a high risk for being susceptible to legionella bacteria.  These bacteria cause legionnaires’ disease which is all too often fatal. It is important to know how to test for Legionella and manage risks.

How proactive management helped in preventing bigger problems

A few years ago a Somerset Care Home found small traces of Legionella bacteria in its water system. Upon discovering this, management immediately isolated the affected bathrooms and arranged for the system to be thoroughly disinfected. As an additional safety measure, they also decided to upgrade their boilers. Due to their efforts, their water monitoring report showed that there were no longer any Legionella present. Throughout this episode, the Care Quality Commission was kept updated on the situation. More importantly, no resident was put to risk of Legionella Disease.

Legionella bacteria can cause Legionnaires’ disease, a potentially fatal form of pneumonia, as well as the less serious but similar conditions of Lochgoilhead fever and Pontiac fever.  Incidents like this emphasise the need for regular Legionella testing in care homes and other similar facilities. With the early detection of the bacteria’s presence, management can take fast action to avoid infection. On the off chance that some would have already been infected, they can also be on the alert for possible cases. Residents can be observed accordingly with the staff on the lookout for symptoms.

This shows that knowing how to test for Legionella is a necessary part of the safety and security routine to be conducted by a facility’s management, especially that of a care home where the residents are typically more susceptible to infection.

Aquacert have been testing for Legionella for over 25 years and are very much qualified to do the test for you.  With engineers and chemists who are knowledgeable, we are also confident in giving advice on appropriate course of action you may take in case your property is found to be infected.

Regular legionella sampling

Routine Legionella testing is something that care home administrators must do or commission a staff member to do. If you’ve been tasked to do this, rest assured that it’s a simple enough process, here are the steps:

  • You order a kit from Aquacert by phone or online. The bottles, courier bags, and courier pick-up request sheet are then sent to you.
  • Fill the bottles with water samples and complete the courier pick-up request sheet.  Then, fax the sheet and your samples will be picked up.
  • Put the samples and the request sheet in the courier bag and give the bag and its contents to the courier.
  • The courier takes the samples to the laboratory for analysis. In the meantime, you wait for the report.
  • The results sheet will then be sent to you where you prefer. The results sheet interprets the bacteria levels and has recommendations on appropriate remedial actions depending on your samples’ results.
  • The results will be kept in the company database, which is available online, and you get a password to access your own analysis certificate.
  • When it’s time to conduct another test, a reminder will be sent by mail, fax, or email.

It’s all about being proactive, prevention is always the best policy. Care Home owners should take the initiative and effort to ensure that their water systems remain Legionella-free.